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Now This Is How You Sell A 1999 Fu*king Toyota Corolla

An unusually compelling Craigslist ad that makes a 19-year old car sound like a must-have.

Now This Is How You Sell A 1999 Fu*king Toyota Corolla
[Photo: Jessica Furtney/Unsplash]

What: Guaranteed, the funniest ad for a 1999 Toyota Corolla that’s ever appeared on Houston’s Craigslist.

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Who: Jason Hlavenka.

Why we care: The hilariously detailed, hyperbolic used car ad is nothing new, but then again, neither are George Carlin jokes and they’re still funny. Born in the tradition of 2013’s 1999 Toyota Camry, 2014’s “Buy My Volvo,” 2015’s 2001 Honda Civic, and last year’s 1996 Honda Civic,  here we get a copywriting masterclass on how to make something desirable with just brutal, brutal honesty. It’s also a throwback to the days when ad copy was so long it could double as a novella. Or at least a particularly informative pamphlet.

There are plenty of brands who could use this kind of creative approach to a boring product.

Since the ad’s been removed from Craigslist, here is the full copy, courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

You want a car that gets the job done? You want a car that’s hassle free? You want a car that literally no one will ever compliment you on? Well look no further.

The 1999 Toyota Corolla.

Let’s talk about features.
Bluetooth: nope
Sunroof: nope
Fancy wheels: nope
Rear view camera: nope . . . but it’s got a transparent rear window and you have a fucking neck that can turn.

Let me tell you a story. One day my Corolla started making a strange sound. I didn’t give a shit and ignored it. It went away. The End.

You could take the engine out of this car, drop it off the Golden Gate Bridge, fish it out of the water a thousand years later, put it in the trunk of the car, fill the gas tank up with Nutella, turn the key, and this puppy would fucking start right up.

This car will outlive you, it will outlive your children.

Things this car is old enough to do:
Vote: yes
Consent to sex: yes
Rent a car: it IS a car

This car’s got history. It’s seen some shit. People have done straight things in this car. People have done gay things in this car. It’s not going to judge you like a fucking Volkswagen would.
Interesting facts:
This car’s exterior color is gray, but its interior color is grey.
In the owner’s manual, oil is listed as “optional.”
When this car was unveiled at the 1998 Detroit Auto Show, it caused all 2,000 attendees to spontaneously yawn. The resulting abrupt change in air pressure inside the building caused a partial collapse of the roof. Four people died. The event is chronicled in the documentary, “Bored to Death: The Story of the 1999 Toyota Corolla”

You wanna know more? Great, I had my car fill out a Facebook survey.
Favorite food: spaghetti
Favorite TV show: Alf
Favorite band: tie between Bush and the Gin Blossoms

This car is as practical as a Roth IRA. It’s as middle-of-the-road as your grandpa during his last Silver Alert. It’s as utilitarian as a member of a church whose scripture is based entirely on water bills.
When I ran the CarFax for this car, I got back a single piece of paper that said, “It’s a Corolla. It’s fine.”

Let’s face the facts, this car isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but neither are you. Stop lying to yourself and stop lying to your wife. This isn’t the car you want, it’s the car you deserve: The fucking 1999 Toyota Corolla.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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